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Prosecutors Say R. Kelly Should Spend At Least 25 Years Behind Bars For Sex Crimes

Addressing R. Kelly's convictions for racketeering and sex trafficking, federal prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum that “He continued his crimes and avoided punishment for almost 30 years and now must be held to account."

By Jill Sederstrom
R Kelly Court G 5

Federal prosecutors believe that R. Kelly should spend at least 25 years behind bars after being convicted last year of preying upon underage girls and women for his “own sexual gratification.”

Prosecutors contend that Kelly used his “fame, money and popularity” as an R&B superstar — he is known for hits like “I Believe I Can Fly” and “Ignition" — to lure victims in over “a period of decades,” according to a sentencing memorandum filed Wednesday and obtained by Law & Crime.

“He continued his crimes and avoided punishment for almost 30 years and now must be held to account,” they wrote.

Kelly was found guilty of all nine counts against him in September, including racketeering and sex trafficking, after jurors heard testimony from 45 federal witnesses and reviewed hundreds of exhibits admitted to the trial that demonstrated a disturbing pattern of sexual abuse and exploitation that Kelly was able to continue for decades because he believed he was “untouchable,” authorities said.

“He lured young girls and boys into his orbit, often through empty or conditioned promises of assistance in developing a career in the entertainment industry or simply playing into the minors’ understandable desire to meet and spend time with a popular celebrity,” prosecutors wrote.

They argued that Kelly humiliated his victims, forced them to perform sexual acts — which were often recorded — and instituted high-levels of control, instructing the women around him to call him “Daddy,” dress in baggy clothing and stand up every time he entered a room. If they violated his strict set of rules, prosecutors said the women were subjected to “violent spankings, other physical assaults, physical restraint and threats.”

Over the years, Kelly exposed “multiple men, women, boys and girls” to genital herpes without their consent, continuing to have unprotected sex with whomever he chose for years.

“Relying on his inner circle and his fame and wealth as a successful R&B singer, the defendant engaged in the conscious, repeated pattern of enticement of minors, sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, among other crimes, that spanned a period of decades,” prosecutors wrote in the memo. “Through his actions, the defendant exhibited a callous disregard for the very real effects that his crimes had on his victims and has shown no remorse for any of his conduct.”

They argued that a sentence in excess of 25 years was “necessary to reflect the profound seriousness of the crimes” committed by Kelly.

Kelly’s lawyers have argued that the singer should only receive a maximum of 17 years in prison, according to The Associated Press.

They referred to federal sentencing guidelines and refuted specific claims made by the prosecutors in their own memo obtained by the news outlet — including an assertion that Kelly had bribed a public official to marry a then 15-year-old Aaliyah after fearing she was pregnant.

They also said they didn’t believe Kelly should get more time in connection to the sexual abuse of another victim referred to in court documents as “Jane.”

“The record shows that Jane’s parents directed Jane to lie to the defendant about her age and then encouraged her to seduce him,” they argued.  

Kelly’s sentencing in the case is scheduled for June 29.